If you find yourself in the festive mood associated with gifting a token of your esteem to a friend or loved one, and that special someone happens to be a guitarist, then an effects pedal is the ideal choice. Guitars are expensive, especially the ones worth playing; ditto for amps. But a stompbox of the highest caliber can be found for a modicum of financial discomfort. That’s why we’ve compiled this list, featuring 10 great pedals that can be had for around $100, and often much lower. Cheers.
Speaking of “ditto,” the TC Electronic looper is excellent for quickly recording a part you’ve just played and repeating it back, allowing you to perform harmonies by your lonesome. It’s also excellent for writing said harmonies in the first place, if you don’t have another guitarist nearby that you can say, “here, play this” to.
The Korg Pandora Stomp is a full-blown multi-effects pedal in a tiny, $99 box. Sure, none of the tones it generates are up to the same snuff as an arsenal of dedicated units, but the Stomp is a great bedroom/backstage jamming tool.
If you have an amp with a great overdrive and feel the need to goose it to saturated distortion, and want a little EQ character on top, and you have very little pedalboard space to do it, Xotic’s EP Booster is one of the choices to recommend in any price range.
Tiny housing is a common thread here. The Mooer Noise Killer is ideal for minimalist pedalboards. It’s tough to justify dedicating space to a noise gate in the limited real estate of a Pedaltrain Micro, but you just may have room for the Noise Killer.
This Swiss army knife is the most underrated tool in the Boss effects catalog. A guitarist with a complex pedalboard routing or multi-amp-setup with doubtless find it a great boon. Try it when you want to blend a parallel clean/dirty signal on a bass tone.
Although if you want a dedicated multi-amp selector the Radial BigShot is likely the better choice for that specific purpose, and cheaper as well.
The effects pedal style that you didn’t know existed, and weren’t aware that you needed, until you heard one in action. Suspend a note or sound infinitely and play a new part on top of it. Make bad Mr. Freeze puns. When you have a really cool tone, it’s ice to cold onto it.
Delay and overdrive in one pedal? Why? Because when you’re riffing at home you don’t want to deal with extra pedals. And because there’s a specific section of a song that you need both parts at once for so why not combine them? It’s not the pedal for everyone, but for the right guitarist it’s brilliant.
Another great boost pedal, from the tone geniuses at Catalinbread. It also makes a great buffer pedal with the volume knob rolled down.
We couldn’t complete the list without at least one “green” distortion pedal, and Pigtronix makes a great one. Can you ever have enough flavors of overdrive?